1982 - Chuck Colson Home
Sometime in the early 80s around 1982 I had an encounter with Chuck Colson of Watergate fame. In the mid 70s I started frequenting a health food store in Naples called "Marthas." Martha was a sweet 60 year old lady and I eventually became good friends with her as she later moved her store to Bonita where I lived.
Occasionally she would open a small restaurant inside the health food store where she would serve healthy lunches and drinks. It wasn't very profitable so it usually wouldn't last too long but I always ate there as much as I could when it was open.
My swing to the right politically in the 70s had resulted in me subscribing to a lot of conservative right wing newsletters and magazines. One of those was "The Spotlight." It had peaked my interest with information on the Kennedy assassination that I had not seen anywhere else which eventually led to a book by an author named Michael Collins Piper which implicated Israel's Mossad in the assassination. It tied Meyer Lansky, the financial head of the mob, and James Jesus Angleton, the head of counter intelligence at the CIA, both to the assassination and to Israel.
Israel's motive was supposedly to stop Kennedy from preventing Israel from developing a nuclear weapon which they eventually acquired around 1968. Although the magazine was painted as racist by the establishment media I found it necessary because it was providing information about Israel that the establishment media would not cover.
In any case I had an interest in Israel which became important one February day in 82 while I was eating lunch at Marthas. I knew the girl who prepared the food and we got into a conversation about Israel. It wasn't long before a black lady sitting at the counter got into the conversation. Something I had said had obviously gotten her shackles up. She informed me that she was the wife of defense minister of Israel, Shimon Perez, who later became Prime Minister. She was an African Jew who had migrated to Israel. I made the mistake of commenting that one didn't see many black Jews. She was offended that I had called her black. I was informed that she wasn't black, that she was African.
She then told me of a territory in Africa where she was from where they were all Jews. Then we got into religion and she brought up how much damage Christianity had done throughout history and how anti-Jewish Christians were. She was particularly worried about the Christian right wing in this country. She was concerned about religious fanaticism and its effect on the political system. I guess she assumed from my comments that I was right wing Christian. I wasn't anti-Jewish, I was just concerned about our media covering up for some of Israel's actions.
I told her that I was an atheist and agreed with her on the damage that some Christians had done throughout history, but found that recently much of the Christian right wing was the strongest supporter of Israel and wondered if Israel didn't have a problem itself with religious fanaticism. She seemed dumbfounded. I mentioned how Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and some other far right Christian leaders were backing Israel strongly now. We parted agreeing to disagree.
I would have stayed longer talking to her, but in the middle of our conversation I looked behind me and noticed a man who was a dead ringer for Chuck Colson shopping in the aisle next to the lunch counter and obviously showing an interest in our conversation. As my conversation with this lady continued I kept my eye on this man. Before he left I wanted to get a closer look. As I saw him approach the check out counter I got behind him and sure enough it was Chuck Colson.
Martha was working at the check out counter, but she didn't seem to notice. When he left I told Martha who he was. I had thought about following him outside and introducing myself and congratulating him on turning his life around as he had repudiated some of his activities in the White House and became involved in prison reform. Of course he had become a evangelical Christian which would help explain his interest in the conversation he had been listening to.
After I left I got to thinking about the whole episode and decided that there must have been some political conference in Naples. It wouldn't have been unusual for that time of year in such a resort area. What else could explain the odds of me running into the wife of the defense minister of Israel and Chuck Colson in the same health food store in Naples, Fl.
In 2001 I would wind up in the Lee County Jail in the Federal block on a conspiracy to distribute cocaine charge and was on my way to Federal prison. The choice of reading material in the county jail is very limited but I did come across Colson's book about his transformation after his Watergate experience (Born Again – 1976) and his attempt to better conditions in the Federal Prisons. I wrote him a letter telling him of my encounter with him at Martha's and thanking him in advance for his efforts which I would soon be taking advantage of. I got a response back from a minister who was handling his correspondence.
Colson is an interesting person for me to meet considering my interest in the JFK Assassination given that V.P. Nixon was the one who headed up “Operation 40” in 1959 which was the first assassination squad trained to go after Castro and that many of these same operatives were directly involved in JFK's assassination and later in Watergate.
See Who Killed JFK.